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Japan PM faces no-confidence vote

Japan's unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan has refused to resign as opposition politicians criticising his disaster management prepared to file a no-confidence motion in parliament.

Mr Kan said his responsibility was to stay on and help with the nuclear crisis and recovery in disaster-hit areas.

He has been criticised for a perceived lack of leadership in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami which left more than 24,000 people dead or missing and crippled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

Opposition parties are expected to submit a no-confidence motion against him.

Mr Kan is expected to survive the motion but dozens of ruling party politicians may support it to pressure him to step down, a move which could split his party.

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami damaged cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Mr Kan, who became prime minister just a year ago, has been criticised for delays in construction of temporary housing for evacuees, lack of transparency about evacuation information, and a perceived lack of leadership.

"You should step down," said Sadakazu Tanigaki, head of the largest opposition group, the Liberal Democratic Party. "It's impossible to achieve disaster reconstruction under your leadership."

Mr Tanigaki's party planned to submit a motion along with smaller opposition groups, with a vote expected on Thursday. If it is passed, Mr Kan would have to order the resignation of his Cabinet or dissolve the 480-seat lower house for elections.

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